Christie calls Lynch plea end of era

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie called the guilty plea of former state Sen. John Lynch the end of an era.

At a press conference earlier today after Lynch pled guilty to corruption charges, Christie praised prosecutors and FBI and IRS agents for their work in the investigation that brought down one of the state's best-known political power brokers.

"Today, an era of corruption and influence peddling for personal profit has been put to an end," he said.

At a hearing in federal court in Newark, Lynch admitted to theft of honest services through fraud and tax evasion. Lynch said he accepted consulting payments from officials at a South Brunswick sand company. Dallenbach Sand Co. was seeking state permission to buy and mine parkland while Lynch was a senator. The project was never finished.

Lynch, 67, admitted the scheme was to funnel $120,000 to $200,000 from the company to one of his consulting companies between 1998 and 2002. Lynch said he accepted four checks totally $25,000 that were passed to him through Executive Continental. Lynch and Jack Westlake, were parnters in a consulting business that operated under the Executive Continental and Alma Ltd.

Lynch also said he did not report $150,000 in income on his 1999 taxes. He owes between $30,000 and $80,000.

Westlake, 76, also pleaded guilty to a single count of tax evasion for not reporting $350,000 in income in 1999.

The pleas were entered before U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler.

Both men are to be sentenced Dec. 19.

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